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Scott R. Garrigus' DigiFreq(TM) - Miking Solo Instruments (Part 1)
ISSN: 1531-6505; Issue 43
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SCOTT'S NOTES - Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
I've got a lot of short, but significant things to share with you, so instead of a long, drawn-out editorial, I've made a list...
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DFreqFEATURE - Miking Solo Instruments (Part 1)
Written by Tom Lubin - © 2010, Cengage Learning. Reprinted with Permission.
This article is an excerpt from the following book: Getting Great Sounds: The Microphone Book
Most of the time, a solo instrument should be set up in a "live" area of the studio. In a dead studio, plywood on the floor may be needed. One of the stereo microphone techniques (usually AB) should be used so that the solo steps out in front of the speakers. Needless to say, to record in stereo at least two tracks are needed, but depending on what you're attempting to achieve, you may decide to use more tracks and additional mics, particularly if you're planning a surround mix.
In general, solo acoustic instruments should be miked at a distance, in order to pick up the overall sound that comes from the entire instrument. This gives the sound space. How much distance depends on the instrument and the space in which it's played. So, does that mean 6 inches or 4 feet? It's very hard to say what the best distance is for any particular instrument, and there will always be exceptions.
For a particularly unique sound, a combination of close and distant miking may also be appropriate. For instance, for a "breathy" flute sound, as was associated with Jethro Tull, you'll need a close mic right near the flute player's lips, and one or two more distant mics for the overall flute texture.
Many times the larger an instrument, the more likely the sound will emanate from all around it. The first step will always be to have the musician play the instrument and then move around it, listening for the place in the room where it sounds best. Be sure to add height to your movement, because the best-sounding place will often be near a reflective floor. Essentially, use your ears as a starting point and position the mics where the instrument sounds best.
Specifically, in general (yes, I know that's a conflict of terms, but it's hard to avoid being too general while not being too specific), if the instrument is something small and not very loud, I would probably start with a pair of microphones a foot or so from the instrument, separated by 9 to 12 inches (see Figure 13.1). To reduce comb filtering, none of the distances should be equal. While the 3-to-1 rule provides the least chance for comb filtering, you may not be satisfied with the greater distance from the instrument or the wider stereo separation.
A larger, louder instrument might have its mic placement 3 to 5 feet from the instrument and separated from one another by 5 or 6 feet. There are times when closer (1 to 2 feet) will sound better for the production, and other times when farther away (6 to 8 feet) is better. A 2- to 3-foot range will usually have a harder-edged pop sound, with more of the sound coming straight from the bell of the horn, the stick's contact with the drum, the attack of the strings, and so on. As the mics move away from the instrument, the sound will mellow, and the attack will blend into the sound of the surrounding reverberation.
The stereo image may also work well if one of the two mics is closer to the instrument, and the other is farther away (for instance, one mic is 18 inches from the instrument, and the other is 30 inches); see Figure 13.2. Finally, always be mindful that when you have two mics in close proximity to each other, there will be comb filtering (see Chapter 4), so always check how the mics sound when they are combined to mono.
We'll have part 2 in the next issue, but in the meantime, for more information, check out: Getting Great Sounds: The Microphone Book
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DFreqDEALS - Special Holiday Sales!
Most of you know about our Deals program where we work out special deals for you from various music manufacturers. Well, many of those manufacturers are having special holiday sales. Not only that, but they are allowing DigiFreq readers to use the DigiFreq coupon codes to get an additional 10% off on top of their current sales! Some of these include Samplerbanks, Blue Cat Audio, Drums On Demand, and Precisionsound. With the coupon codes, you can get up to 50% off in some cases! So check out all the great deals at: http://www.digifreq.com/digifreq/deals.asp
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DFreqNEWS - Pianoteq, EQ, DOD, Best Service, Chris Hein, EarMaster, Toontrack, iRig KEYS
Some of the latest music technology news:
Modartt releases a Neupert clavichord add-on for Pianoteq - Free Download
macProVideo Releases Art of Audio Recording: EQ Video Tutorial - Get 20% off!
Drums On Demand releases Contemporary Funk & Soul Drum Loop Library - Get 10% off!
Best Service Engine 2.1 with Full 64-bit Cross-Platform Support Released
Chris Hein Releases Chris-Hein-Horns Pro Sample Library
eMedia Music Releases EarMaster Pro 6
Precisionsound releases Celtic Harp Sample Library for HALion, Kontakt & SoundFont - Get 10% off!
Blue Cat Audio Releases Blue Cat's Oscilloscope Multi 2.0 - Get 10% off!
Toontrack releases Rock Solid EZX a new expansion for EZdrummer
iRig KEYS Now Shipping from IK Multimedia - Universal MIDI Controller for iPod/iPad and Mac/PC
For more of the latest music technology news, go to:
Also, be sure to check out the latest consumer technology news at:
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DFreqDISCUSS - Vocal Mic Processing, Sound Forge FX, Merry Christmas 2012
Some of the latest technology discussions:
Sound Forge Express FX
MERRY CHRISTMAS 2012
Cakewalk SONAR Pro Channel Presets
Vocal Mic Processing for Voiceover
To read up on other interesting topics, or to post and get answers to your own questions, go to:
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DFreqTIPS - Compressing MIDI Velocities in Cakewalk SONAR
If you find that your MIDI performances aren't quite as perfect as you'd like them to be, and the velocities of your notes are sometimes too soft or too loud, you can compress them using Cakewalk's Interpolate or Find/Change feature. Here's how:
1) Select your MIDI data.
2) If you're using SONAR 8.5 or earlier, choose Edit > Interpolate. If you're using SONAR X1 or later, choose Process > Find/Change. This opens the Event Filter - Search dialog box.
3) Click the None button located near the bottom of the dialog box.
4) Put a check mark next to Note (the first parameter listed near the top of the dialog box).
5) Click OK to open the Event Filter - Replace dialog box.
6) To the right of the Note parameter, enter the range of velocity values you would like to use in the Velocity Min (for the lowest velocity in the range) and Max (for the highest velocity in the range) parameters.
7) Click OK.
SONAR will then compress your velocity values to the range that you specified in the Velocity Min and Max parameters.
For more of the latest music technology tips, go to:
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DFreqDOWNLOADS - SONAR Power! PDF, Ohm Force Frohmage FX, Musicrow Preamp
Some of the latest music technology downloads:
SONAR X1 Power! Tips and Techniques PDF (Free)
Ohm Force Frohmage Filter FX Plug-In (Mac/Windows - Free)
Musicrow Preamp Emulator Virtual Tube FX (Windows - Free)
For more of the latest music technology downloads, go to:
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DFreqVIDEOS - Cakewalk SONAR: Event Inspector Editing
Scott Garrigus demonstrates how to edit clips, notes, and data selections using the Event Inspector in Cakewalk SONAR. Versions 8.5 (and earlier) as well as X1 (and later) are covered. In addition, some advanced tips about using modifiers with the Event Inspector are included.
The Event Inspector is a special editing feature in Cakewalk SONAR, which allows you to edit the start time, duration, pitch, velocity, and channel of selected events in a project. It also works as a data indicator for single selected events by displaying their current start time, duration, pitch, velocity, and channel values. In addition, it can help with arranging entire data clips in the Track view. Watch the video at: http://www.digifreq.com/digifreq/video.asp?ID=7
For more of the latest music technology videos, go to:
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DFreqFINISH - Got questions? Get Answers in the DigiFreq Forums
Yes, I know... there are a lot of music and home recording forums available on the Internet, but the DigiFreq Forums are special. Not only am I there every day, we also have a dedicated group of people that are ready to answer your questions.
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Suffice it to say... if you're reading the DigiFreq newsletter, but not visiting the Forums, then you are missing out on a big part of the services that DigiFreq provides for you. Go to the forums today and register for your free account:
Register at: http://www.digifreq.com/digifreq/discuss/policy.asp
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Come on over to hang out, make new friends, and share your thoughts... and of course, get answers to any questions you may have.
Thanks and I'll see you there!
DigiFreq(TM) is provided for informational purposes only. Any damage resulting from the use of the information herein is the sole responsibility of the reader.
Copyright 2012 by Scott R. Garrigus. All Rights Reserved.
DigiFreq, PO Box 458, Stafford Springs, CT 06076 USA
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